Thursday, 5 December 2019

November - uneventful but very eventful!

This month has been a little boring as I’ve not got much to write about; I’ve been doing a lot of wedding planning and haven’t been out and about. However, this month has been eventful with the protests and riots still going on, I have many things to add to my post about all the protests in still under construction. 

I finally managed to get Joaquin’s birthday present as the shop had reduced opening times due to the protests. 
He is very happy with his new bike and we have been on a few cycle rides up and down the city!

I’ve been on another hike to see more flowers in the hills, Sarah and Felipe invited us to join them. It was a very interesting walk where I saw some rare flowers and ones that only grow in the area. The cacti are amazing and huge. I learnt that they only grow a few centimetres a year (or when the rains come) so some of these cacti are hundreds of years old. We also went up a sand dune; I got so much sand in my shoes as I was jumping down it. I emptied my shoes at the bottom and then again about 5 times when I got home, I don't know where the sand kept coming from!

Found a big spider...well not as big as ones in Australia!
This made me laugh...
A parking space only for pregnant woman! What is happening...they don't have a disability! I think they see it as an illness here in Chile.

In scouts the girls have been practicing their camping skills, one of which is putting up a tent! Problem is it took them about 45 minutes to put the tent up. I think they need more practice to get quicker. I also now have my uniform.

I had to visit the British Embassy in Santiago to sort out some paperwork to be able to get married so spent a few days there. We visited the centre and saw the impact the protests have had there and been researching on what we should to when my family come to visit in February. 

So here in Chile they have refillable bottles for fizzy drinks. First you buy a bottle and your drink, then when you have finished you go back with the empty bottle, pick a new one and return your old one.
The Christmas tree has already been put’s only November! The kids have been singing Christmas songs I banned them till December then they can sing to their hearts content.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Lots of events happened in October

This has been a big month with many things happening in Chile.

Firstly the weather is getting warmer, I can tell summer is on its way.

At the beggining of the month it was Coty’s birthday. We celebrated with cake, of course! The circus was also in town so for something else to do we all went to see the show. Well, I started off impressed with the trapeze guys and the jugglers then it just started to go down hill. The clowns were not funny for me but Coty was having a laugh at them. I thought that because I have seen many circus shows I wouldn’t see anything new but oh how I was wrong…the strangest thing I have seen in a circus was preformed. The performers started doing scenes from Beauty and The Beast, it would have been ok if they were actually singing or even acting but they were lip syncing to the songs and the acting was shockingly bad. Second half started with the Globe of Death and then back to the awful reenacting of scenes! Well at least it was something different and I saw something in a circus I thought I would never see!

Also at the beggining of the month there was a Tango Festival. I went with Sarah to see a show at the theater, the show started off slow but finally we got to see the professional dancers. They were amazing to watch and their costumes were stunning. We had a great show with the dancers, singers and musicians all putting on different acts.
The next day Joaquin and I went to a Tango workshop, this was held by one of the professional couples from the show. We got the best dancers teaching us some moves. I also think Joaquin and I were the youngest people there too! At the end of the session the dancers told us to start going to classes, we impressed them!

In scouts we have been doing some more fundraising for Jamboree. This time I helped make roscas (these are a bit like doughnuts but made with a different dough) to sell. It was a hot day and we had to cook outside right next to flames with hot fat to fry. My main job was to put the dough into the oil to cook and then we had some people draining them out and then coating them in sugar. I don't think it is the healthiest snack!

I went on another hike this month. It started off easy but didn’t end like that! On the hike there were lots of different flowers; we went to a place where it doesn’t rain but the tops of the hills are covered in clouds often so the ground and plants get water. We followed the path to the top and had a rest before making our way down a different way. The problem was there was not really a way down the path than we had choosen to take. The hills were way too steep. The only way down was on our bottoms. It wasn’t only steep the rocks were loose too, we had to be so careful as we were going down in a line. I was at the back of the line, I think I had the hardest job as the people before me had disturbed the rocks so they were looser for me. Then I had to be careful that I didn’t send rocks flying down infront of me otherwise some people may have been injured! As we were making our way down practically sliding on our bums some hikers came around the corner down below us, only looking up when Joaquin sent a rock flying down to their path, they started taking our photos, I am sure it was a funny sight. We all made it down to path below and feeling very tired made our way back to the car. It was time to go home for a much needed afternoon nap.

In Chile they have a day to celebrate everything and this month was student day and teachers day. On student day the kids at school had a preformace made by the teachers, I put on a preformace with antoher teacher with hula hoops, we also had knife throwers, the worlds strongest man, magicans and clowns only to name a few. Then children enjoyed play time and a party in the classroom with cake and treats. 

The next day was the teachers day, we had gifts given to us from the children and also a party in the classroom again with cake and treats. In the afternoon there was no school and the teachers went out for lunch.
Here are my presents I recieved and I got a lot of chocolate (something the kids know I love), look how some spelt my name! Cathering, how Cute!

In th middle of the month Joaquin and I went with Vania and Richard to the Paranal Observatory. Chile has some of the best clear skies in the world to be able to see into space; not much light pollution either. I was really interested in learning more about what they do at the Observatory, this was a 2 hour tour, which Monty and Cheetah came on too. It was so windy at the top that Monty nearly got blown away, Cheetah had to keep a tight hold of him! We got a tour of the telescope, the control room and got to see the hotel where the scientists stay while they are working there. It was interesting to learn about how things work there but our guide could have been a bit more fun and enthusiastic.

The day we went to the observatory we lernt about the protests that had started in Santiago (the captial) and then they started here in Antofagasta. This is still going on now. I will put up a seprate post all about why they are happening, how they started and really what has been happening as I know the news coverage has not been entiarly truthful or wide spread.

Lots of people had birthdays this month one was my friend Jaime’s and the other was Joaquin’s. For Jaime’s birthday we managed to go out for a drink with him and Alejandro to celebrate. Next it was Joaquin’s 30th birthday but the problem was the protests were still happening so things were not normal, we couldn’t really go out to celebrate so we had friends over for drink and a game of Monopoly Deal instead. I also am glad I brought a few presents in advance as shops were not open. I have to wait till I can give him his main present when they re-open. He enjoyed his day though.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

September the month of celebrations

September is a big month in Chile as it is when they celebrate the start of their independence. You see hundreads of Chilean flags flying, see many people dancing Cueca (sounds like quaker; this is their national dance), eat a ton of food and drink a lot of terremotos; these are a perticular cocktail they drink at this time of year, with some kind of wine, syrup and pineapple sorbet; sounds unappetising but it was delicious. Terremoto means earthquake, they give this name to the drink beacuse when you drink a lot the ‘ground starts moving’. 

Me trying a Terremoto

Due to this celebration the school put on a big show with all the classes performing a dance for the parents. It was wonderful to watch all the children in their costumes and see how they celebrate this festival. There was a band playing afterwards and a lot of food was eaten!

It actually rained this month…I wouldn’t really call it rain as it was only a few spots but that is rain for them here in Antofagasta. I took a photo but it is not that clear that it is raining.
The next celebration of the month was Sarah’s Birthday, a friend I have made, she invited Joaquin and I to hers for a BBQ…again a lot of food was eaten!

The 18th of September came around and this is the day of the main celebration. On this day you must fly a Chilean flag from your property. It is a national holiday but as Joaquin works in the hosiptal he has to work his shift but he was home in the evening and he took me to the ‘Las Ramadas’. This is a big festival where you find stalls for games, disco tents, food stalls, mini bars and fair rides. We wondered around so I could get a sense of thier festivities and played some games, I won a teddy bear! I also watched how they make churros. 
The next day we went back in the day to go and eat lunch, it was a very different atmosphere to the night before, less people and a lot of eating going on! I played some games again and won a teddy again!

Then it was my birthday, celebrating 31 years! I spent the morning having my nails done and then the afternoon cooking food for the party in the evening. I invited some friends over for a small party in the garden. I cooked way too much food but everyone like the dishes, I tried to make it more English and cook things they wouldn’t normally have here in Chile. I got some wonderful presents, things I really needed, like my hairbrush.
My birthday cake was awsome which was chocolate and mint. We talked until mid hours of the morning…how parties are so different here; too calm for me - I miss having a wild night with my friends. After the holdiays I also had the kids sing Happy Birthday to me and I wish I had recorded their rendition of Happy Birthday in English, I loved it!
So by the end of the month I had eaten so much food it is time for a diet!